ObamaComp (r) Prediction Combines Health, Workers Comp and Auto Insurance
The ObamaComp prediction now possibly becomes part of a larger combination of personal and industrial coverages. I am not one to say that I told you so, but there is now a live bill in the Senate that would merge Auto, Workers Compensation, and healthcare into a 24-hour health coverage plan. Of course, the property and casualty insurers are going to fight the bill. The provision was proposed last week by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
In an article from the National Underwriter – According to a lobbyist for the American Insurance Association, the amendment is not likely to be taken up by the committee, although it has been officially filed. In a bulletin to members, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America said the work on language in the legislation in the Senate panel was supposed to be completed this week, but “the markup could very well slip into next week and potentially beyond.”
The industry’s stated opposition was contained in a letter delivered today to all members of the Senate Finance Committee. One of the more stark areas in the article was that Workers Compensation was not the driving force behind the letter. The letter centered on automobile insurance’s interplay with health insurance. I am not sure of the impact of the letter, but would it leave open an area to combine Workers Compensation and health coverage like ObamaComp?
Regardless, I do agree with a passage in the letter “In light of the serious damage it would do to our nation’s workers’ compensation and auto insurance systems, we respectfully urge the Finance Committee not to add the Rockefeller Amendment to the pending bill.”
I had pointed out in my last few posts on the ObamaComp prediction that 24-hour health care had been attempted before and failed miserably. The letter to the Senate finance committee pointed to several states that experimented with pilot projects (California, Kentucky, and Oregon) and were not successful.
The bottom line of this post is that while this may not be added to the bill, there are now going to be open discussions about combining different coverages, and will likely be discussed more in the future.
I have been informing our clients whether they are brokers, self-insureds, governmental agencies, or private companies that there is already a federal program that is currently controlling many Workers Compensation settlements. It is the CMS and Medicare Set Asides that they must approve. I will comment on medical set-asides in my next post. Yes, the federal government has been heavily involved for quite some time in Workers Comp settlements.
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